can't log in after converting root filesystem



Hello, Friendly Fedora Folks:

My problem seems possibly related to some recently reported issues,
but I'm unable to fit suggested solutions to my issue. Anyway, here
goes:

I have an Asus EeePC 900A. It predictably took me about 2.5 minutes to
figure out that I wanted nothing at all to do with the crummy Linux
distro that came with it. I wanted Fedora and thought I'd try out the
Omega spin that Rahul announced recently.

Now the 900A has only a 4GB flash chip for internal storage, so I
started thinking of ways to reduce writes to the filesystem. It seemed
to me that ext2 was a better fit than ext3 because there would be no
need to write the journal data. During the install from LiveCD, I
chose to format the entire 4GB as ext2 and mount it on /. No separate
/boot partition, no swap partition.

After install, I discovered that the root filesystem was ext3 despite
my explicit instruction to format it as ext2. I consider that a bug,
which I might pursue if I can get past my current predicament.

I figured that "downgrading" to ext2 would not be difficult. So I
changed ext3 to ext2 in fstab and added noatime to the options.
Everything seems good at this point. I reboot, and mount tells me that
the root filesystem is, indeed, ext2. After running through the
installed packages and removing several that I thought would never be
relevant to my limited hardware, I rebooted again and found everything
good.

Well, almost everything. It turns out that now I can yum update
everything except for the kernel. After kernel update, I can't log in
at all. I get to the gdm screen, enter username and password, and it
just returns immediately to a fresh gdm screen. If I boot to runlevel
3, I have a similar symptom in text -- entering username and password
just returns to the login prompt.

At this point, I'm stuck. I've tried everything I know (not much) and
I can't log in. I did take a snapshot of the system with dd just
before upgrading the kernel, so I can always bring that back. But then
I can never apply any kernel updates.

Help!

-Alan

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